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Welcome to Writing for the Web Login to See Film awards and prizes What can be done with this page? There is no one.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to Writing for the Web Login to See Film awards and prizes What can be done with this page? There is no one."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to Writing for the Web Login to See Film awards and prizes What can be done with this page? There is no one right answer. Don’t be afraid to change things. 1

2 Housekeeping 2

3 Who are You? Your name? Where do you work? Experience of writing for the web? Expectations? 3

4 Writing for the web Mike Simpson Senior Web Communications Officer Teri Browett IT Training Specialist Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning IT Services 4

5 Writing for the Web: Overview Print vs online Structure Writing style Consistency 5

6 The great ‘Writing for the Web’ information hunt Please don’t start looking yet! Task 1: Jan Zalasiewicz feature: Of Barrie and BarrandeJan Zalasiewicz feature: Of Barrie and Barrande Which three places did the King of France travel to, accompanied by his grandson’s tutor, after he was deposed? Task 2: Botanic Garden websiteBotanic Garden website What are the three different groups of Whitebeams represented in the tree collection in the Arboretum? 6

7 Web writing is fundamentally different to writing for print: People read the web in a different way. They are impatient, intolerant, busy. No-one reads the web for fun. Website visitors have a specific task which they want to complete. They don’t care about anything else. 7

8 Eye-tracking on websites 8

9 Paragraphs Break long paragraphs at natural points. Two or three sentences is fine. (Just one if it’s long.) Tabloid newspaper structure, without a tabloid writing style. You don’t have to understand what the text is about. 9

10 Bullet point lists Bullet points are often frowned on in print… …but they are a web-writer’s friend. Any list of three or more things can be bullet-pointed. –Sometimes just two things or even one thing. Use the bullet-point icon. Use numbering if the order is important. 10

11 Headings and subheadings People don’t want to read the whole page – just the bit that they want. Web users scan a page, looking for subheadings, links, highlighted text etc. –“Is this relevant to me?” If you try to make them read the whole page – they will go elsewhere. 11

12 Your writing ‘voice’ Write in the second person –‘You can do this’, not ‘Staff can do this’ Write in an active voice –‘X does Y’, not ‘Y is done by X’ –“Exams are taken by students at the end of each year.” Would be better as? Write positive instructions –What people can/should do Write clearly –Plain English, please! 12

13 Your writing ‘voice’ - exercise 13

14 J&A Jargon and abbreviations Think about your audience(s) and the language they use. Approach each page separately. Don’t be afraid to simplify – readers will simply skip over explanations they already know. 14

15 J&A - exercise 15

16 Plain English, please… Postgraduate taught (562 hits) Pastoral care (351 hits) Programmes of study (177 hits) Presessional course (12 hits) 16

17 Cut out the waffle Get straight to the point Be as terse as you can without being rude People don’t want a chat, they want answers They want the most important answer first* –*the answer to the most important question The inverted pyramid 17

18 The inverted pyramid The important bit Some context Optional stuff Limited interest 18

19 The important bit Some context Optional stuff Limited interest Usefulness decreases down the page. No-one has to get past irrelevant stuff to find useful stuff

20 Linear vs non-linear Print communication is linear… –…because it has to be. But the order is often arbitrary. Group things together by: –Similar or overlapping content –Natural groups (under a single subheading) –Amount of space required/available 20

21 Emphasis - exercise 21

22 Emphasis CAPITALS DO NOT EMPHASISE They actually make things harder to read because they change the shape. Italics do not emphasise either - they change the shape of the letters. Emphasise paragraphs using styles. Emphasise words and phrases using bold. 22

23 Links: the essence of the web Provide links where these are mentioned: –Organisations –Other pages or other websites –People (if there is a relevant page) Make the word(s) into the link Link to front page or deep link? –Where will people probably want to go? Make your links meaningful and useful 23

24 Three types of links to avoid webwriting/linksthatworkhttp://www2.le.ac.uk/webcentre/plone/plan/ webwriting/linksthatwork Links that take you to this page.this page Click here. 24

25 PDFs – Portable Document Format Information in a PDF is not ‘on the web’. A PDF is a picture of a piece of paper. Use only when: –Users might to want to print it out, and/or –It is important to show the layout of an existing print document. Would you produce a leaflet from screen shots? 25

26 Print version vs online version 26

27 Original vs online version 27

28 Structure – the bigger picture Biochemistry research page Recruiting Postgraduate Students: print vs onlineRecruiting Postgraduate Students: print vs online 28

29 House style website 5pm17:005:00pm5.00pm5 pm 29

30 House style Rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling which are applied consistently within an organisation. Listed on the Web Centre Always proof-read from a hard copy 30

31 House style - exercise 31

32 Now it’s your turn 32

33 The best web page has just three components: 1.Everything a visitor wants. 2.Nothing that a visitor doesn't want. 3.Links to everything a visitor might want next. People read the web differently 33

34 Good web writing has: Short paragraphs A non-linear – but logical - structure Subheadings Bullet points Useful links No waffle 34

35 Film awards and prizes revisited What can be done with this? There is no one right answer. Don’t be afraid to change things. 35

36 Thank you ext WebNet – monthly newsletter 36


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